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Berlin 15, Italy 11, Normandy 8, Western Europe 7, Rick Atkinson 7, Washington 5, Europe 5, Us 5, Piper 4, Eisenhower 4, France 4, Sicily 4, U.s. 4, Omar Bradley 3, Bradley 3, Germany 3, Rome 3, North Africa 3, Nancy Pelosi 2, Theodore Roosevelt 2,
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  CSPAN    C-SPAN2 Weekend    News/Business. News.  

    July 6, 2013
    7:00 - 8:00am EDT  

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level of world war i and i wonder about your perspective as a journalist and historian what factors you attribute to the sustained interest. >> thanks for that question. it comes and cycles. there was an interest in the civil war, resurgence interests in the 89s. certainly we saw resurgent interest with the ken burns series and there is no shortage of history is coming out about lincoln and the civil war and so on so waves of that come along, in the case of world war ii, 70 years more less after the fact, i believe what we are seeing now, of the 16.1 million who are in uniform, 1.3 american veterans are still alive and they're dying at the rate of 800 and day. next year, 2014 the number will slip below million for the first
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time, ten years later in 2020 for the number will be below 100,000 so the generation as generations do is slipping away, they're passing over and i think we are finding 6 children, grandchildren, even great grandchildren who are keen to understand what their fathers, grandfathers did in part because it is part of their heritage, part of a parsimonious and part of understanding who we are, where we came from, world war ii affects us in very profound ways to this day, the way we think about gender, we are talking at the military academy, the way we think about race, the way we think about our role in the world. we will never be isolationist again the way we were before 1941. all of this do block from world war ii and people are interested in that just as they are interested in their own personal
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family histories so i think that helps to feed this ongoing fascination with it. finally it is the greatest catastrophe in human history, sixty million dead. it is on not to watch a train wreck, hard to look away when you see something as grotesque as world war ii was on that scale and there's also a feeling that we are on the side of the angels. there is good day and evil and you can differentiate between the two more easily than you often can in contemporary life and contemporary conflicts. there is no doubt the we were on the side of good, the forces of liberation, even though many bad things happened as we discussed and people find that has an enduring appeal also. >> host: in your view how much did the strategic bombing campaign by the british and
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americans contribute to the defeat of nazi germany and what was the casualty rate, something you write about in "the gunsg is absolutely invaluable. these are large bombers flown by the british and the americans primarily and flying over strategic targets. there was a bitter dispute over press sighly -- precisely how this should be carried out. the british believed that bombing cities was most effective in trying to whittle away german morale, to have the germans essentially implode. the americans flew mostly by day. the americans believed that hitting certain strategic targets, particularly oil starting in the spring of 1944, that oil was the achilles heel of the german war machine.
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and that proved to be true. it's absolutely vital in understanding how the ground forces are able to eventually prevail to know that these air forces by the time we get to 1945 have been hammering all this panoply of targets. the casualties were staggering. the odds of surviving and fulfilling your quota which can kept going up, initially it was 25 missions you had to fly and then it was raised to 30 missions, in some cases 35 missions, the odds of fulfilling those 30 missions, 35 missions and going home became pretty dire. and you found that there were few professions within the profession of arms that were as dangerous as being a crewman on
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a b17, for example. it was ex your quota which kept off it was extremely hazardous flying against german fighter planes and german batteries. >> host: jack is a world war ii veteran in louisiana. you are on with author rick atkinson. >> caller: they misquoted you. i am not a veteran of that war. but i wanted to pay tribute if i could to some dear friends of mine, they were very -- my engineer was one of the 80 second, 1 hundred first paratroopers that was at normandy sets and i will never forget the tears in his eyes when he said it was to take those guns and i lost 100 of my friends doing so and they were
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not even there and he went from there to market garden where he was not mortally wounded because he lived through it, seriously wounded. they had taken a bridge, the last bridge and you went and fought and my uncle who was in patent's army throughout the campaign loved his general but said this of the soldier who was slapped, we had a serious problem with people shooting themselves in the foot and he was actually incensed about it and that is why he slapped the man. he loved his general. he said a lot of our boys died but not because we weren't fighting. >> host: we will let your comments stand there. we appreciate your calling in and this e-mail from atlanta. i am looking forward to hearing
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you speak in atlanta, she says. in 1944-45 hy was a child and 8 in northern italy, family moved to a small village to get away from the bombings. we were often visited by the partisans looking for food of which we had very little or by the fascists who were looking for the partisans. at these times we, the kids, were always shuffled away in the bed room out of sight but we could still hear everything and we were scared. so my question is how effective was the role of the resistance in the war. >> guest: she is talking specifically about italy. every occupied country had its own flavor of resistance, particularly in italy it is not until you get into northern italy in the last year of the war from the summer of 1944 to mensa of 45 that the partisans
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become a vulnerable force and a harassed the german occupiers, blow up train tracks and bridges and ambush patrols and they became pretty vulnerable land they were aided by the o s s, forerunner of the cia and british counterparts so the player a roll. it is not a decisive role because there are not enough of them and it is very hazardous. the germans were ruthless. if you are a partisan or suspected partisan you were likely to be summarily executed. in france it is a bigger network. and again only the last year of the war where they play a role because prior to that there was simply very little partisan activity that reported dent in the germans and again you had to be incredibly brave to participate in the french
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resistance because the germans would go through and insert a cases executed 3 when in a village if in fact partisans had been active in that area. it is not a decisive. is important to acknowledge them and recognize that they play a role in southern france, especially. there were american agents, soldiers basically who would parachute in, british also and rendezvous with the french resistance units and held in various ways, instruct them in in closes and so on. it is not what decided the battle for france but it is an important part of keeping the pressure on the germans and keeping them uneasy and making them sleep very lightly and night in some instances. >> host: e-mail from arkansas, why in your opinion didn't eisenhower and bradley better heed the warning signs that led to the battle of the bulge and
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secondly would you think of like's decision to let the russians take berlin? >> the warning signs were fairly opaque. it is easy to say in retrospect you could see the germans were massing along the border in belgium and luxembourg. at the time there was a believe the germans had been there so surly battered in their flight across france that they lack the wherewithal to put together this kind of three army offensive that took place in the beginning of december 16th. there was also an overreliance on the british ability to intercept and decrypt the most secret german radio traffic, military radio traffic. if you didn't hear it there was a belief hadn't happened. and all the planning for the battle of the bulge was done face-to-face basically or by
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written message and they were not messages transmitted by radio that could then be intercepted and decoded and consequently there was not a recognition that this huge corporation was underway. in retrospect you can say it was unpardonable said they had no clues as was coming. it was an intelligence order, failure of the first magnitude and yet there are reasons for it. why not take berlin? he intended to. that was in the plan for normandy. eisenhower reaffirmed in the fall of 1944 that the ambition of the western allies was to go to berlin and then he changed his mind and he changed his mind in march of 1945 in part because the russians were virtually on the doorstep of berlin, the russians beginning in january of
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1945 amass several million troops that were going to fall on berlin, western allies, american and british were 200 miles from berlin, and the decisions that had been made about how germany in general and berlin specifically with divided up after the war, they would be partitioned with zones for the russians, for the british, for the americans, for the french and the same would happen with berlin, and eisenhower came to believe and was encouraged by roosevelt to avoid conflict with the russians, came to believe was pointless to risk tens of thousands of casualties racing to berlin when the russians were already virtually inside city limits of berlin and so he changed his mind and directed his armies towards dresden, to the southeast in order to cut germany in half.
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in retrospect i think it was entirely the right decision, the british were not happy with it, churchill in particular believed there should have been an effort to push to berlin, but 70 years later, that decision holds on really well. >> host: walking piper speaking of the battle of the bulge. >> guest: he was a lieutenant colonel. he was the point of the experience the attack that began in december 16th, 1944. his task was to lead an armored column through the american defense and get to the news river and help capture bridges across the news and proceed on to m 4, cute important belgian port, piper was quite sophisticated, spoke english,
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spoke french, had two brothers who had been killed in the war, very intelligent, utterly ruthless and so what we find with piper's column, they're finding difficulties right from the get go on december 16th, the timetable is disrupted, things are moving slower than they're supposed to be moving, he comes to a village in belgian where there is an american unit travelling by truck, his forces happen to fall on this unit, they shoot up the convoy, american soldiers who survive this initial encounter taken into a field and lined up and massacred, more than 80 of them are shot, others get away, word of the massacre gets around very quickly, begins a cycle of reprisal, there are no prisoners to be taken, orders given by some american units, piper never makes it, he gets close but not
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quite, doesn't have combat power, he is running out of fuel. team manages with very few of his original forces, 1500 or so men to get back, he's tried for war crimes after the war, sentenced to death along with scores of others involved in the killings. it was a tainted procedure. the confessions that have been extracted from the defendants were considered to be under judicial review to be improper and the death sentence was lifted, a life sentence eventually was commuted, he served about ten years in prison and then he was left out of prison, he became a salesman for the motor co. porsche and later for volkswagen. he was in charge of american sales if you can believe it, he was murdered in nearly 70s, he
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had house in eastern france, it was arson, is burned body was found, the case was never solved, it remains unsolved, there were very few tears shed for him it should be added. >> host: he sold cars to americans and had a house in france. david tweets in the weekend overvalue of our contribution to the allied effort to defeat nazi germany and undervalue the role of the u.s.s.r.? >> i think we do. that is a good point. i try to make the point whenever i can that the soviets did most of the killing, bleeding, dying for the alliance. they had twenty-six million died during the war, and imaginable for us and there's a tendency frequently to overlook the soviet contribution. world war ii immediately turns into a cold war and the soviets
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become our adversaries and there is little profit acknowledging the soviet role when they are adversaries during the cold war but 70 years after the affected to be recognized by every american that were it not for the russians the war would not have been won as quickly as it was spent for every russian soldiers died that was one american soldier that didn't have to die. >> host: steve is in california. >> caller: the great books, thank you for writing them. my question is december 16th, was just answered. so i'm going to go off to your at the 11 book and asked about political pressure in the u.s. congress to stop the war after
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100 hours in iraq. how big an effect was that? i remember the time very vividly and listening to nancy pelosi rant about continuing the war, was that a factor in the ending of it? >> no, i don't think it was. i don't think congress had anything to do with it. the decision was made in the pentagon, it was made specifically by colin powell, obviously with the concurrence of his civilian masters. he called general schwarzkopf and said we are at the 100 our mark, we kicked them out of kuwait, we have done what the united nations asked us to do, fulfilled the terms of the congressional and united nations authorizations, what you think
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of ending it? hall was concern that eventually there would be a backlash, television photos in particular would be seen of carnage on the so-called highway of death leading out of kuwait city. in fact none of those photos have yet been on television when pal made the decision that he was aware there was carnage in the fatah so i don't think nancy pelosi or anyone else in congress had nothing to do with. >> host: of veteran in richmond, va. you are wrong with rick atkinson. >> thank you for putting this program on. wreck's accusations are very profound. it was my privilege to twice go to the normandy cemeteries, the american cemetery, the beaches
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of normandy and one time, the next-door neighbor, congressional medal of honor winner, there are two congressional winners in the cemetery, one being general theodore roosevelt jr. and those two, just around the corner are the only two there, there gravesides on the white crosses. >> thank you for that. >> host: was your service in world war ii? >> caller: i was in the marines in college and transport in the pacific but we got our fair light.
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>> guest: thanks for the question. >> host: we have had some callers calling in about rape and sexual assault in the military. in "the guns at last night: the war in western europe, 1944-1945" you write about this and there are some figures that would like to share with some viewers. 443 death penalties were imposed on g is most for murder or rape, severe the disproportionate number fell on black soldiers often after dubious due process, 70 executions took place in europe including several public hangings. >> yes, and one execution for desertion, private eddie slovak which i write about at some length. you will find in general the racism that was prevalent in many institutions in the united states in the 1940s can be found
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in the 4 since, the disproportionate punishment that was meted out to american, black soldiers was something that reflected prejudices toward them and lack of counsel that they often did not receive and extends all the way to the death penalty. i don't remember the number of black american soldiers among those 70 but it was disproportionate. >> guest: the german military issued 15,000 military death sentences in world war ii with half or more carried out, 21,000 soldiers would desert from the u.s. army during the war, less than half had been caught by the late 1940s. do we have any idea where some of these deserters are?
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>> i don't know where they are. harris in particular was a haven for guys on the lamb or guys with shady business. eddie slovak i just mentioned was a kid from detroit who was drafted, had the virtue of writing to his wife antoinette everyday while he was in the service, ended up being sent to the twentieth infantry division, deserted immediately, was hanging out with the canadian unit for a while and finally caught, court-martials, refused the offer to have his sentence set aside if he would go back into combat, he said i will just desert again. his appeal came to eisenhower in december of 1944 at the darkest
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time of the battle of the bulge and eisenhower was not in a forgiving mood and unfortunately for slovak eisenhower affirmed the death sentence and eisenhower also said that his units, the 20 eighth division was a carry out the execution so i describe how all he was transported by military police to where the 20 eighth division is and a firing squad was set up. slovak believed to the very end that he was going to be -- that the sentence would be commuted and it was not, they shot him dead. the division commander had been at omaha beach, he had been at one of the worst of all the battles in world war ii, had been in the battle the balls, 28 division was shot to pieces in luxembourg but fought heroically and it was the worst 15 minutes of his life, during the
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execution of any slovak. it left of hollow feeling in the hearts of everyone who witnessed it or participated in it in any way. >> bill lynch, thanks for the story of 601 hardest the boulevard, kansas city, missouri, he was a draftee in the 1960s. what is your referring to. >> this is the end of the book and i found a document more than 400 pages written right after the war and it describes the operations of the quartermaster affects bureau and the effects bureau was set up at 601 hardesty avenue in kansas city to handle the effects of the american dead. it began in february of 1942, the first months of the war as a small operation, fewer than a
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dozen people land grew to more than a thousand people working in this converted warehouse and what would happen is real boxcars would pull up on the siding next to the warehouse and footlockers and other containers with the effects of the dead from six continents would be hoisted by elevated to the tenth floor and by assembly line conveyor belts down to the seventh floor where inspectors all along this line would go through the effects and take out pornography, ammunition, letters from a girlfriend you didn't want the window to see and other things that were inappropriate for one reason or another and all of the effect would then be repacked and as this was happening in a very large room adjacent to the assembly line there were banks of typists backing out letters, 70,000
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letters a month by 1945 and the gist of the letters was this. dear sir, dear madam, we have your dead son's tough, where should we send it? it is an extraordinary scene. the inspectors found all kinds of things, tobacco sack full of diamonds, shrunken head, all the things soldiers can and do accumulate. they also found many diaries, thousands of diaries and those were also collected at hardesty avenue and i quote from the diary of one young lieutenant who was killed in new guinea at the end and the gist of what he has written in the diary is actually last letter home because he is wounded, dying, takes him a couple days to die and it is a letter, my dear sweet father, mother and sister
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and what he writes is i can understand why god is taking my life. what i cannot understand is why he is making me suffer. that is the gist of the questions so many have to ask about world war ii and the suffering of war in general so that is what 601 hardest the avenue is about. >> host: smithfield, va. good afternoon. >> caller: we read your other two books in the trilogy and been very interested. my father-in-law, a member of the 26 infantry was at the surrender, it is interesting that modern historians, having given more credit to force. i would like to know your comments on that. >> thanks for your call. john hurley is one of the great soldiers of world war ii.
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how many silver stars as it? 7 or 8? . i read about that extensively. it is one of the most appalling bits of combat in world war ii, terrible generalship by american general starting with alarm bradley and on down the line. i have almost an entire chapter devoted to it. what you find is a very dense, not very big patch of woods on the western edge of germany and the decision is made to throw one division after another into the forests and they are issued to pieces. i write specifically about the twentieth division, the commanding general, there were more than 5 divisions that fought there. it went well for none of them
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including the first division. the colonel was there for them. i write about that. is not a pretty picture. corley is with me in africa. he is with us for the invasion of sicily. i don't write about the lot but i sure do admire him. >> host: at the beginning of world war ii mark clark was looked upon as sort of a golden boy. was he has batted general as he is portrayed now? >> guest: i don't think he is. he is the dominant figure in volume 2 of this trilogy, particularly the second half of it. he is west point class of 1917, he knows eisenhower from their time at west point. eisenhower is two classes ahead of them. and he shows up in north africa having a little combat experience call wounded in world
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war 1 unlike eisenhower and bradley who have no combat experience from world war i, he is a difficult man to love, no doubt about that. he tends to be somewhat imperious, but self-absorbed, extraordinarily ambitious. has a first for publicity that is beyond belief. what you find when you get to italy where clark is the commander of the fifth army, a man who cares about his soldiers, is attentive to their welfare, personally brave and like some of the stories that have been told about him and yet is insubordinate at times particularly when it comes to dealing with the british, makes certain decisions that are simply indefensible, pressing on to rome, so i find personally
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that he is a mixed bag, you can see mark clark as somebody who is able to handle 23,000 american battle deaths in italy. not everyone is put on this earth able to handle that kind of pressure. he is a guy who can deal with the pressure of heavy casualties. on the other hand he is the man who clearly has flaws as a commander. eisenhower begins to see that clark's compulsive nests about personal glory is something that eisenhower has difficulty with handling. so i think less tortured of clark is probably more sympathetic than most and yet you have got to see him as a very nuanced characters who has got different facets to his
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personality and his generalsship. >> host: regarding the day of battle, the fall of rome on june 6th, an aide woke mark clark and his excelsior sweet with the news that german radio and announce the allied invasion of normandy. clark rubbed the sleep from his eyes, quote, how do you like that, he said? they didn't even let us have the newspaper headlines for the fall of rome for one day. >> guest: they have been fighting in italy and next thing you know he captures rome, doesn't do it very aggressively, doesn't permit the british to share in the glory of it and he does disobey orders in going to rome, failing to cut of retreating germans and yet june 4th, 1944, a few days later, normandy and italy become the backwater. >> guest: robert, please go
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ahead with your question or comment? >> caller: the question about the work, the intelligence together with the campaign to get us into the iraq war, did you support going into that war when it was happening? >> guest: does the media have responsibility? device support going into the iraq war? you in the 2003 invasion? i did not personally. i was with major-general david petraeus, commander of the 100 first airborne division, embedded reporter for the washington post with the 100 first and i can tell you general david petraeus had doubt about it too as did many others in the military. wondering whether containment had run its course, that this was the best option, whether it was precipitous. i had some anxiety about it
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personally and retrospect it was foolhardy. does the media have responsibility, sure. that is what a free press is about, as the most pertinent, most difficult questions relating to the largest issues of our national life, there is no larger issue than war and peace. we -- of include myself, didn't do particularly well before that 2003 invasion of asking hard questions about whether there were weapons of mass destruction, whether saddam hussein really had intend to do ill to others. i don't think we did particularly well as an institution and there has been a lot of soul-searching in the ten years since then and that should continue. asking the question like that is entirely appropriate. >> host: "in the company of soldiers: a chronicle of combat" key and out in 2004 about mr. rick atkinson's experience embedding with a 100 first army
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in the iraq war. from "the guns at last night: the war in western europe, 1944-1945," berlin received an extra allocation of crisis rations to commemorate hitler's birthday on friday, april 20th, 1945. a pound of bacon or sausage, half a pound of rice and announce of coffee. allied planes pummeled the city for much of the day and citizens risked their lives to queue for special groceries, quote, with these ration's we shall now ascend into heaven, one woman told her husband. a commemorative postage stamp was issued to with the cancellation imprint that read, quote, we are defending europe against bolsheviks. they seemed uncommonly ironic for a regime not known for it's right humor. you go on and writes in april, in berlin, almost the 4,000 suicides would be reported and the report noted the demand for poison, pistol or other means of
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ending life is great everywhere, a pastor shot himself and his wife and daughter, a 16-year-old girl, and shot her two sons and herself and slit her daughter's rose. our teacher hanged herself. >> yes. the final months in berlin, in many german cities, had this quality where the temple is coming down around them, under incessant bombardment in berlin, as they know the soviet army's are at the door, they know the war is lost, many have suffered personal losses with soldiers who have been killed, family members who have died in the bombings and it is awful and you can feel sympathy for germans even if you have a disdain for
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the larger guilt and responsibility for the war. >> guest: jim, you are on booktv. >> caller: i read the first two utility and i'm reading the third and i thank you for those. i read a number of books on world war ii and there seems to be one major american general is seems to be universally ignored as a subject of books by historians of the period almost the point of the disdain. only appears in the narrative of other historians books including your own and the only book i can remember about him was his own book a soldier's or written in the early 1960s. as you know i am speaking of omar bradley. after reading your books i think i have an opinion as to why this is so bad you are the historian
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and i would like to know what you think about that. >> guest: what you think that is? >> he seems to be incompetent at some points. he seems to be stuck on the original plan of battle rather than shifting to, shifting his strategy, circumstances change. he also seems to be, this is a point of character, also comes across as a prig and the way he handles theodore roosevelt jr. and general allan. >> caller: we got the point.
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>> there are many pages devoted to omar bradley. i think your analysis of them is pretty much in line with mind. i believe you see omar bradley ouzo west point classmate and friend of dwight eisenhower's show up in north africa in the spring of 1943 and he takes over second corps which pan briefly commanded and he does pretty well at that. has an act for it and has not been in combat before like eisenhower he missed world war i combat action that is pretty good at it and in sicily commands the second score again and shows some capabilities as the corps commander, next thing you know he leaves sicily, goes back to england to prepare for the invasion of normandy where
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he commands an army, the major american force in the invasion of normandy and then commands an army group which is two or more armies, commands the largest armed force the u.s. army has ever put overseas. i think he is promoted beyond its natural level of competence, used to be called the pier principal and it is hard not to feel a little sorry for him, there's a very steep learning curve to go from command and a core to commanding an army group in a short period of time. i think that he again is not unnatural battle captain. i am pretty hard on my assessment of him, he wrote two memoirs, you mentioned the soldier's store, he also wrote a book called general's life which was published posthumously. it came out after he died. she of lived almost everyone
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else from that generation and at a large role in shaping his own reputation and shaping the narrative post. he was a consultant on the movie pattern that can out in 1970. consequently what you see is the benefit of longevity. he managed to help shape the general belief that he was a hero and a very competent general. i don't feel that that is entirely accurate. i certainly right to that effect. >> host: at an end of world war ii the european theater, what george shultz called the american prodigy of organization shipped eighteen million tons of worse off to europe, equivalent to the cargo in 3600 liberty ships or 181,000 rail cars.
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it ranged from 800,000 military vehicles to footwear in sizes 2 a to 22 triple e. u.s. munitions plants had turned out forty billion rounds of small arms ammunition, fifty-six million grenades from d-day to they date gee is fired five hundred million machine gun bullets, twenty-three million artillery rounds, quote, i am letting the american taxpayer takes this hill, one prodigal gunner declared and no one disagreed. by 1945 the u.s. had built two thirds of all ships afloat and was making half of all manufactured goods in the world including nearly half of all armaments, the enemy was crushed by logistical brilliance, 5 power, mobility comment and an economic juggernaut that produced much more of nearly everything than germany could. in las vegas, good afternoon.
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>> good afternoon. thank you for taking my call. it is a privilege to speak to rick atkinson. i read the first two volumes and i'm on the third volume. on a retired chaplain for 30 years 63-93, in world war ii i was a boy scout for the war effort and the korean war, and i was in the seminary eight years and felt a responsibility to my country so i went into the chaplain, i have a question, there is no mention of chaplain in the first two volumes, and in the third volume, and i know one chaplain personally who wrote the prayers for patent, i know of the second chaplain, junked
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with the 100 first ninety day, was captured, put face a firing squad, the german officer was raised by nuns--not raised but educated, they pulled him out of the line and that german company was overrun, the chaplain was brought into the unit. my question, you do a lot of research and a lot of things you have to leave out, did you run across any contribution of chaplains towards the war effort? >> thanks for the call and the question. of course and that to read about chaplains. i write about the chaplain who wrote the prayer for good weather that you mentioned and there is a chaplain, a rabbi
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named a corn and i write about him in the current book for example. chaplains are an important combat unit then and now, they are part of the morale structure of the army. it is a place for soldiers to find solace, even soldiers who are not especially religious, chaplains are active counselors and confidants and i don't write about the chaplain corps much because as you say there are things you got to leave out and that is one of the things that the most but does get left out but i do touch on it and try to acknowledge their contribution. >> host: just a few minutes left with our guests and george is a veteran in dearborn heights, michigan. >> caller: thanks for taking my
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call. i am 87 years old, i was 19 years old when i flew 35 missions with the eighth air force during world war ii. we used to fly in another lens and day in and day out we fought over montgomery's lines and all we would ever see is smoke screens whereas if we had targets in various parts of germany, sometimes we would have to hit the secondary target because patton had already gotten there and also i have read a little bit on nt rooney. i haven't heard you mention him and i have read some of his books and he had quite a disdain, the famous author, anyway. that is about all. i would like your comment on
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what i have just asked. >> i don't know if i referred to andy rooney. i use his book. i read his book particularly about being a sergeant in world war ii, i think it is cited in the notes of this one. he is not a character because again you've got to leave certain things out and he didn't make the cut. 35 missions with 8 air force, that is the pretty significant contribution. i alluded earlier to the mortality rate of guys flying the kind of missions you were flying to make it through 35 missions and get home to live to 2013 to bear witness and tell us about it is really extraordinary and i thank you for that call. >> host: more facts and figures
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of rick atkinson's reporting in "the guns at last night: the war in western europe, 1944-1945," traveled with winston churchill, included 140 bottles of whiskey, 140 bottles of cheri, 40 bottles of gin. 2 ended pounds of bacon, 200 pounds of coffee, 100 rolls of toilet paper, 2500 paper napkins, 650 dinner plates, 350 teacups, 500 tumblers, 100 wineglasses and it goes on, 40 bottles of white horse, black and white, 69 whiskey, 10,000 cigarettes travels as well, where did you get this information along with the information we read about the end the war and how many bullets were used, how did you aggregate that? >> this information specifically i found that a british national archive it outside london, their equivalent of our national archive and i was delighted to find it because it gives you some sense of how they removing
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large even in an awful place. part of the narrative writer's task is to figure out where this stuff is. in the case of manifest some like this, i show up and began looking through files and see what i can come up with. >> michael in fayette, alabama you are on with rick atkinson. >> caller: it is a real pleasure to meet you by phone for the first time even though i haven't read any of your books. warfare history is just something i don't care all that much about but hopefully you can give a good answer to question that i hope, if washington acts fast enough can prevent more wars in the future, it is about the financial and economic
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causes of war. for instance in italy between 1918-22 lead personally don't know how mussolini power rose to power. i imagine 4 years he must have wiggle his way up into italy's parliament by forming alliances, accusing the this to the so-called prayers, stalin and gaddafi's style but i don't know if it had occurred that way. i do know that italy had a low standard of living before 1914 and it was wheat to the industrial revolution. >> host: where are you going with this? >> caller: that is what caused the mullahs arrests in japan. >> i think we got the point. did you understand what he was talking about. >> there are underlying causes for nations to go to war with
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the they are economic or political or economic. >> if you look at europe in world war 1, and all the rest of european history plays out ultimately sell that is indisputable. >> my grandmother born in 1879 and ten children, boys who served in world war ii, three in europe, one in the pacific and remember pouring over her scrapbooks at the time with fascination and only later understood how she and other mothers were heroes too. reading your latest, how much is the home front coverage in your book? >> guest: i breakaway to come back to the conference in washington. take a snapshot of what is
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happening zen, my books i've basically set overseas in the war theaters and i try not to get short shrift too much, but these are combat histories. >> host: scott, you are on the air. i want to say thank you for your work. close to my granddad in jacksonville, fla. his younger brother was lieutenant colonel george marshall who learned more about 3 your first book in the african invasion and this past memorial day went with my family to the park dedication in his honor thrown by his son who was 3 at the time so thank you again for your work. my question is i saw among your greatest influences were among your influences was your editor john sterling who has been with you all six books so what are
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the crucial ingredients for a great editor? >> guest: john has been my editor and good friend since 1987. patients of larry year, a great sense how to handle temperamental authors. recognition that these things take time and friendship is that the heart of that. >> host: how often did fdr and churchill meet? >> guest: going back twice to tehran, washington, but don't know the total number of tons but hundreds of hours. >> host: on the phone was able to talk? >> sometimes on the phone. >> three minutes left with our
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guests, here's a little bit from "the guns at last night: the war in western europe, 1944-1945". this is from 1945. time magazine had catalogued many rumors about the president's health, he had been secretly rushed to the mayo clinic, three psychiatrists attended him when he traveled that he was anemic. the truth was worse, not for decades would it be revealed that his blood pressure climbed from 128 over 82 to 260 over 150 in december of 1944. in the past year he had shed 30 pounds. he cannot taste food. an examination by cardiologists complained of gross discoloration of his skin, lips and nail beds with labored breathing, abdominal stress and an enlarged fluid in the long all leading to a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. he had indeed been anemic from
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chronic bleeding, hemorrhoid's exacerbated by his inability to stand or walk. he suffered symptoms of a mild heart attack in august while giving a speech in washington state, various ailments, he was periodically treated with phenobarbital and injections of codeine. his personal physician ordered as little as possible be revealed to roosevelt who took the prescribed green pills without asking what they were and made efforts to have his daily smoking and drinking to ten cigarettes in 1.5 cocktails' as recommended, quote, lot of sleep and still need more. you would write his secretary later on friday. that is a little bit from "the guns at last night: the war in western europe, 1944-1945". jim in south dakota, question or comment for rick atkinson. it helps if i push the button. >> caller: "the guns at last
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night: the war in western europe, 1944-1945" would be my first book about world war ii. i am a journalist, and two years ago when my mother died she had given me a pack of a thousand letters written between 1942-1945 which represent correspondence of my parents during those years. my father had enlisted in 1942 at the age of 47. he served with the seventh armored division, and my biggest question today, now my question is where do you recommend as a repository for these letters my father was a very good writer. and his letters are informative, they are in sight for training
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leading up to their departure and all his letters survived show her letters and the war years or the war years when he was actually in the front, they do not survive, but his do. and he asks a lot of questions in these letters and they are potentially valuable. >> host: thanks. >> guest: thanks for taking the time to reserve those letters. there are couple good repositories. i suggest you take a look at the u.s. army military institute which is in carlisle, pa. adjacent to the army war college. is the place where an official records, official records goes to the national archives that this is where letters, diaries and the like go and see your dad's trove would fit perfectly and among other things they
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organize their archive by units, so your dad's letters would be with the seventh armored division and other letters and diaries and so on in the seventh armored division. that sort of stuff for historians like me is absolutely invaluable. i would encourage you to put copies, a pretty good website u.s. army military institute part of the army history and education center you can find it and see how we get in touch. >> host: we are out of time with rich and concern. we didn't get to someone else feature in your book, marlene dietrich, a picture of her on the front lines and the tuskegee airmen are featured in rick atkinson's work and we didn't have a chance to get to either of those. very quickly, "the long gray line" was about the west point class of '66, at the 11 about
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the persian gulf war came next, "an army at dawn: the war in north africa," of soldiers: a chronicle of combat," "the day of battle: the war in sicily and italy" and "the guns at last night: the war in western europe, 1944-1945," liberation trilogy is the web site. .. this talk was ld